Online Bible Commentary
The One Which My Soul Still Seeks
Ecclesiastes 7:23 All this I have proved by wisdom. I said, "I will be wise"; But it was far from me. 24 As for that which is far off and exceedingly deep, Who can find it out? 25 I applied my heart to know, To search and seek out wisdom and the reason of things, To know the wickedness of folly, Even of foolishness and madness. 26 And I find more bitter than death The woman whose heart is snares and nets, Whose hands are fetters. He who pleases God shall escape from her, But the sinner shall be trapped by her. 27 "Here is what I have found," says the Preacher, "Adding one thing to the other to find out the reason, 28 Which my soul still seeks but I cannot find: One man among a thousand I have found, But a woman among all these I have not found. 29 Truly, this only I have found: That God made man upright, But they have sought out many schemes." (NKJV)
The book of Ecclesiastes, written by Solomon, is classified as wisdom literature. Wisdom literature is especially concerned with helping us to deal with the issues of life. Late in his life, Solomon, the wisest man to ever live, had the time to write, and compile, the wisdom books of Proverbs and Ecclesiastes.
When Solomon became the king of Israel in 970 B.C. the first thing he asked of God was to be wise. God answered his prayer and made him the wisest man ever to live, at the age of nineteen (1 Kings 3:12).
Now, it is some thirty-five years later. Solomon has allowed himself to drift from God. As he has drifted from God he has lost some of his wisdom. He has built many altars to foreign gods, to honor his many wives.
This passage is a continuation of the previous passage on wisdom (v. 23a). Now Solomon’s wisdom was “far from” him (v. 23b). Now he wonders how anybody can have true wisdom (v. 24).
Solomon has “applied” himself to knowing the meaning of life, but it is now escaping him as he is moving away from God (v. 25). He has become “bitter” towards “the woman”, perhaps the prostitute or wife, who ensnares the man who is not walking with God (v. 26). Perhaps he is describing himself and one of his wives, as he has drifted away from God.
As he reasons all this out, Solomon comes to a conclusion (v. 27). His soul has not found satisfaction. He has not found the one “which my soul still seeks” (v. 28a). He has found only one man in a thousand that satisfies him, but no woman (v. 28b). He is disappointed in human relationships. Even his satisfaction with the one man could fade as he got to know him better. Solomon is writing of relationships of “souls”, not physical relationships.
This passage is not an indictment of women or people in general but more of a reflection of Solomon’s experiences. He has involved himself with women from different cultures with different religions. Through this involvement he has been pulled away from his walk with God. His soul is not satisfied with these relationships.
Solomon concludes that God is not at fault here. God has “made man upright”, righteous, but man has followed their own “schemes”, vices, sin (v. 29). Adam and Eve were created without sin, but they chose to sin. We also are created without sin, but we choose to sin.
What happened to Solomon could very well happen to us. We must be careful with whom we establish relationships. When we establish relationships with people from different cultures and religions we are just asking for trouble.
It is hard enough to make any relationship last, simply because familiarity breeds contempt. To complicate this by introducing a different culture or religion even lowers the odds of finding a satisfaction of souls.
Furthermore, Solomon gives us a perfect example of what happens when we marry outside of our religion. He never found satisfaction and he was pulled away from his relationship with God. If this could happen to Solomon, the wisest man ever to live, it could definitely happen to us.
Any relationship, especially marriage, should not be entered into lightly. Your relationship with God should be put first. Anyone who would negatively affect, even if not on purpose, your relationship with God should be avoided. Every potential relationship decision should be bathed in prayer.
The best chance for a devoted Christian to find true love and satisfaction in marriage is to marry another Christian, preferably someone from their denomination, or better yet, their church. Even this is not a guarantee that the marriage will last.
If a marriage is to last, it must be a union of three persons, a man, a woman, and God. Through God’s help we have the best opportunity of finding our soul mate, the one “which my soul still seeks.”